Tips for Scaling Your Business

How to Scale a Small Business

How to Scale Your Business in 6 Steps

You started a small business and, after lots of ups and downs, the company’s foundations have been set and things are going well. But the business is beginning to approach the point where progress is slowing down and earnings are starting to hit a plateau. These are the signs that it’s time to take the next step forward: it’s time to grow and expand your company.

As challenging as it is to start a business in the first place, the process of enlarging the operation will come with its own hurdles that need to be cleared. You won’t want to embark on the next chapter in your company’s story without first learning about what you should expect and how to handle the challenges ahead.

For that reason, we’ve compiled the top 6 tips for how to scale a business for you so that you’ll be able to perfect your business scaling strategy. Keep reading and discover how to scale your business like an expert…

Applying the six s framework

1. Staff

You can’t scale your venture alone. You need a team of talented, highly motivated staff who believe in the company’s mission. For resource-constrained startups, the right talent can change everything: High performers are 400 percent more productive than the average employee, according to McKinsey. As roles grow in complexity, that productivity number jumps to 800 percent.

When a company is in a rapid growth phase, it often feels easier to hire just anyone who can get the work done. But as Apple Founder Steve Jobs once said: “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” If you compromise on talent early, it’s harder to backtrack.

“You need to set a high bar for the first few recruits in the venture,” Rayport says. “You can’t compromise on that first wave, because they’ll be the ones who propagate the values of your organization. Pretty soon, they’ll also be hiring the next wave, and they’ll hire performers who are a lot like them.”

2. Shared Values

Shared values represent a company’s culture, and are what defines how employees interact, solve problems, and work with one another, according to Rayport. As individuals encounter challenges and learn how to collectively address them, particular patterns are reinforced and ultimately coalesce into shared values and beliefs about how work gets done.

“Most startups have a culture that is a direct reflection or translation of the founders’ personalities and values,” Rayport says. “And most founders are largely unaware of the outsized impact they have in instilling the culture of their organization.”

One of the biggest scaling challenges around culture is de-personalizing the company’s values, so they feel less like mantras shaped by a few individuals, and more like a shared organizational fabric.

“You need to make those implicit values explicit and take the time to write them down,” Rayport says. “It’s important to separate cultural inputs from outputs. Most ventures describe the culture they want, which are the outputs, as opposed to determining the actions founders can take, or the inputs, to deliver on that culture.”

3. Structure

How you structure your organization is crucial to success. As the company grows, so, too, should the number of decision-makers. The founders can’t be involved in every detail of the business once it scales. It’s important to recruit seasoned leaders with specific skill sets or develop employees who can thrive in environments with more specialized roles.

Training new employees can feel like additional work, but taking the time to properly onboard them pays dividends later. It’s all about creating leverage to deliver on the founders’ vision—and that requires not only recruiting the right people, but structuring their roles and the organization in ways that favor growth. If you don’t let go, your organization won’t scale.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos encourages failure. As he once wrote in a shareholder letter, as reported in Business Insider, “Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.”

Entrepreneurship Essentials - Succeed in the startup world. Learn more.

4. Speed

Most ventures accumulate “technical debt,” which is the price of scaling what works rather than what’s perfect. Over time, tech debt adds up and it’s critical for leaders to find ways to pay it down. That’s the only way you can create the robust business systems and stable infrastructure needed to support increasing scale.

“It’s better to pay down your tech debt as you scale,” Rayport says. “If you have a market opportunity, you don’t want to wait a few months to get your house in order. But sooner or later, you have to upgrade the systems and infrastructure. As Marshall Goldsmith famously said, ‘What got you here won’t get you there.’ It’s important to recognize that each stage requires its own set of approaches.”

5. Scope

On the other side of speed is scope. Rather, where do you look for opportunities? At what point should you consider expanding into new geographies or markets, or building additional products or services? It’s easy to lose focus when you start to scale, but having a map of growth options helps.

“One way to start categorizing your options is by asking, ‘Will I grow by extending existing products into new markets or by selling new products to existing markets?’” Rayport says. “Make decisions rigorously to set your path.”

6. Series X

Financing is one of your most valuable resources, and it’s important to understand how your financing strategy aligns with your growth strategy, according to Rayport. Hiring additional employees and building out the right infrastructure and business processes typically require capital. You need to know both what kind of financing is necessary to support that growth and where you can cut costs.

preparing for scale

Do you want to master a proven framework for building and financing new ventures? Explore our four-week online course Entrepreneurship Essentials, and discover how you can learn the language of the startup world.

About the Author

Lauren Landry is the associate director of marketing and communications for Harvard Business School Online. Prior to joining HBS Online, she worked at Northeastern University and BostInno, where she wrote nearly 3,500 articles covering early-stage tech and education—including the very launch of HBS Online. When she’s not at HBS Online, you might find her teaching a course on digital media at Emerson College, chugging coffee, or telling anyone who’s willing to listen terribly corny jokes.


How to Start a Courier Business | A Step-by-Step Guide (with Video)

how to start a courier business

How to Start a Courier Business | A Step-by-Step Guide (with Video)

How to Start a Courier Business

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.

If you’re interested in learning how to start a courier business, it’s likely you’ve seen companies who deliver packages to others, and you’re thinking this is something you might be able to do. Like many startup entrepreneurs, you might be concerned about the process of starting the business. You might be concerned about:

In this article, we’ll be discussing all of these things to help you decide if this is a good fit for you, and if it is, how you can begin taking action today. If that sounds interesting to you, let’s get started…If you’d like to see this content in video format, check it out here:

Why Start An Online Tutoring Business?

Tutors start their own businesses for a number of reasons, but one of the primary reasons is the ability to be your own boss. When you operate an online tutoring business, you are able to set your own hours, determine your own hourly rates, and take on as many or as few clients as fit your schedule. The flexibility that comes with tutoring is one of its biggest advantages.

What’s more, becoming a tutor is an excellent way to support students and parents. When you step in as a tutor, you help students learn the skills they need to succeed in the classroom, and you relieve some stress on parents. For many students, a tutor can change the outcome of their educational career. So if you have a heart for students, and a desire to see them grow and succeed, tutoring could be your passion.

In addition, over the past few years, online tutoring has been increasing in popularity. According to IBIS world, the market size of online tutoring services in the US (as measured by revenue) is expected to increase by 4.1% in 2020. There is always a need for educators, especially during the school year and around standardized testing time, and when you become a tutor you help fill that need. If you want to join a growing market, now is a great time to open our own online tutoring business!

When To Sign Up With A Tutoring Service Instead Of Starting Your Own Business

There are a couple of routes you can take to begin tutoring online. You can choose to sign up with an existing online tutoring network (such as, or you can start your own independent online tutoring business. Your choice between these two options depends on your available resources, your timeline, and your intentions for your business.

  • You Have A Limited Social Network: If you don’t already have a number of potential students in mind, it might be best to join a tutoring website. These sites help connect tutors with students, which can reduce some of the demand that comes with building an entire client base from scratch.
  • You Need To Start Working Immediately: Finding clients and establishing a presence in the tutoring market can take significant time, energy, and money. If you want to skip over this process, signing up with a tutoring site is a great option. You’ll be able to find clients and get teaching much sooner.
  • You Don’t Mind Paying A Fee: Most tutoring sites charge tutors a percentage of their earnings. You should have room in the budget for this expense in order for a tutoring site to be an advantage.
  • You Don’t Want To Set Up The Technical Tools On Your Own: In order to successfully tutor across the internet, you need access to a variety of tools. At minimum, you need a video conferencing tool, a way to share your computer screen, and a virtual whiteboard. Many tutoring sites that specialize in online tutoring (such as Varsity Tutors) offer these tools built into their platforms.

Home Business Ideas

1. Coding

Frontend, backend, and every type of code in between, this skill requires no in-person interaction with your clients. But one skill you’ll want to carry over from the in-person world for this type of business is active listening. It can be easy to zone out while building a product, but developing a connection with the client is just as important as developing the code for their website.

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4. Data Entry Clerk

Many businesses seek data entry clerks to help them enter information into their computer systems and spreadsheets. If you have strong computer and typing skills, this might be the business for you.

5. Audio or Video Editor

As of March 2021, there are 1.75 million podcasts available to listeners. For this reason, brands are turning to audio and visual content to connect with consumers. The catch is that many don’t have the time to invest in the production of this content, or they don’t have the skills to do it. Audio and video editors are in demand when it comes to producing quality content for hungry audiences.

6. Voiceover Artist

Speaking of podcasts and videos, many content creators recognize the value and level of professionalism that great voice talent can bring to a project. There are gigs out there for podcast intros/outros, narration for explainer videos, or even voice work for audiobooks. Learn how to get started with no experience from Kat Theo below:

7. Dog Walker, Groomer, or Trainer

Licensing and insurance will be the two most important factors in opening a dog walking, grooming, or training business, but your canine colleagues will surely make up for the initial red tape. To test the waters before jumping in, consider walking dogs through companies like Rover. Ready to run your own show? Consider a franchise like Dogtopia.

8. Candy Seller

If you grew up in a close-knit, southern neighborhood, you’re probably familiar with the “Candy Lady”. This home business can be started by anyone who’s trustworthy in the community. Aside from selling the most popular snacks, a candy seller can provide the neighborhood with fresh fruit and produce that may be harder to find if you live in a food desert.

9. Online Class Instructor

Tutoring is often done in person and with one client at a time. Remotely teaching an online class offers more flexibility because you can teach multiple students from home. English is a common subject for online classes because of how many people want to learn it. But anything that you have a mastery over could be translated to a virtual class.

10. Small-Batch Goods Seller

Using organic, all-natural ingredients is more expensive, but worth it. There are many products you can learn how to make at home without any preservatives, chemicals, or toxins. Candles, soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers are some examples of goods you can create and tailor with custom scents. Try starting out making soap with this complete beginner’s guide to soapmaking:

Easy Businesses to Start

Whether you’re looking to start your venture today or you simply don’t want to jump through the normal hoops of launching a small business, the below ideas are extremely easy to start — so easy, all you’ll need to do is sign up on a website or tell your friends about your services.

1. Vacation Host

Have you ever used a home-sharing service instead of a hotel? You could make a living by hosting visitors in your own home or renting out a room. Consider becoming a host with companies like Airbnb.

2. Pet Sitter

Do you have a passion for pets? Consider becoming a pet sitter. While the pet’s owners are away on vacation, either host their pet at your home or make visits to their home. Join a pet sitting service like Wag to get started.

small business idea example: pet sitter

3. Daycare Owner

Childcare continues to be in high demand. While nannies and nanny shares are popular right now, a good daycare is hard to find. Fill a need in your neighborhood by opening your own. And, as always, make sure you’re complying with your city and state’s zoning, licensure, insurance, and inspection requirements.

4. Blogger

If there’s a topic you have a heavy interest in, then there’s an audience out there with a heavy interest in it too. A blog can be used to build an online community whose engagement can be monetized. Affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and co-marketing are some ways to make money once your blog develops a following.


How to let go

how to let go

Why is letting go so hard?

Why do we have so much trouble learning how to let go of someone we love ? We like to hold on to things, situations and especially people because it fulfills our need for certainty . Certainty is one of the six human needs that drive every decision we make. Letting go and moving on from a relationship often entails a large amount of uncertainty. Even if your relationship had reached its conclusion or one or both of you were very unhappy, there was still an amount of certainty there that was comforting.

Sometimes we use the past to justify our current decisions , and that’s why we can’t figure out how to let go . Remember when you were rejected by several potential mates in high school or college? Those instances could make you hold on to a partner – even one who is not good for you – because you are afraid you won’t find anyone else. Those memories justify everything for you. When you’re unable to let go, those memories become a part of your “story” and work against you.

Let go of Anger and Bitterness

11. Feel it fully. If you stifle your feelings, they may leak out and affect everyone around you—not just the person who inspired your anger. Before you can let go of any emotion, you have to feel it fully.

12. Give yourself a rant window. Let yourself vent for a day before confronting the person who troubled you. This may diffuse the hostility and give you time to plan a rational confrontation.

13. Remind yourself that anger hurts you more than the person who upset you, and visualize it melting away as an act of kindness to yourself.

14. If possible, express your anger to the person who offended you. Communicating how you feel may help you move on. Keep in mind that you can’t control how the offender responds; you can only control how clearly and kindly you express yourself.

15. Take responsibility. Many times when you’re angry, you focus on what someone else did that was wrong, which essentially gives away your power. When you focus on what you could have done better, you often feel empowered and less bitter.

16. Put yourself in the offender’s shoes. We all make mistakes, and odds are you could have easily slipped up just like your husband, father, or friend did. Compassion dissolves anger.

17. Metaphorically throw it away. For example, jog with a backpack full of tennis balls. After you’ve built up a bit of rush, toss the balls one by one, labeling each as a part of your anger. (You’ll need to retrieve these—litter angers the earth!)

18. Use a stress ball, and express your anger physically and vocally when you use it. Make a scrunched up face or grunt. You may feel silly, but this allows you to actually express what you’re feeling inside.

19. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and gently flick it when you start obsessing on angry thoughts. This trains your mind to associate that type of persistent negativity with something unpleasant.

20. Remind yourself these are your only three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it. These acts create happiness; holding onto bitterness never does.

More Tips for Letting Go​

2. Question your patterns. Do you find that you often struggle to let go? Or, do you struggle to let go of something or someone in particular? What are these patterns and how are they helping or hurting you?

3. Ask your inner child. As we get older, we rely more on our brains and often leave our emotions or intuition out of our decisions. So pause when contemplating letting go and ask your inner child what he or she wants. See if you gain any unknown insights from the answers you receive.

4. Understand that reality is often not what we expect. TV and movies often portray an unrealistic view of what relationships are like or even what living is really like. So many of us grow up thinking and expecting that things will be different than they are. And once we discover reality, we fight it. If this sounds like you, try to let go of the ideas you once had and replace them with your understanding of reality now.